旺旺首页 > 英语 > 学校英语 > 大学英语 > 大学英语精读 > 第四册 > UNIT 10. Why People Work
更新时间:2005/10/24
 » Download Audio

    Do you view work as a burden or an opportunity? Are you the kind of person who looks for ways to save your energy or the kind that finds spending your energy satisfying? Why do people like to complain about work? Find the answers to question like these in the following essay.

WHY PEOPLE WORK

Leonard R. Sayles

    Jobs and work do much more than most of us realize to provide happiness sand contentment. We're all used to thinking that work provides the material things of life -- the goods and services that make possible our modern civilization. But we are much less conscious of the extent to which work provides the more intangible, but more crucial, psychological well-being that can make the difference between a full and an empty life.
    Historically, work has been associated with slavery and sin and punishment. And in our own day we are used to hearing the traditional complaints: "I can't wait for my vacation," "I wish I could stay home today," "My boss treats me poorly," "I've got too much work to do and not enough time to do it." Against this background, it may well come as a surprise to learn that not only psychologists but other behavioral scientists have come to accept the positive contribution of work to the individual's happiness and sense of personal achievement. Work is more than a necessity for most human beings; it is the focus of their lives, the source of their identity and creativity.
    Rather than a punishment or a burden, work is the opportunity to realize one's potential. Many psychiatrists heading mental health clinics have observed its healing effect. A good many patients who feel depressed in clinics gain renewed self-confidence when gainfully employed and lose some, if not all, of their most acute symptoms. Increasingly, institutions dealing with mental health problems are establishing workshops wherein those too sick to get a job in "outside" industry can work, while every effort is exerted to arrange "real" jobs for those well enough to work outside.
    And the reverse is true, too. For large numbers of people, the absence of work is harmful to their health. Retirement often brings many problems surrounding the "What do I do with myself?" question, even though there may be no financial cares. Large numbers of people regularly get headaches and other illnesses on weekends when they don't have their jobs to go to, and must fend for themselves. It has been observed that unemployment, quite aside from exerting financial pressures, brings enormous psychological troubles and that many individuals deteriorate rapidly when jobless.
    But why? Why should work be such a significant source of human satisfaction? A good share of the answer rests in the kind of pride that is stimulated by the job, by the activity of accomplishing.

Pride in Accomplishment
    The human being longs for a sense of being accomplished, of being able to do things, with his hand, with his mind, with his will. Each of us wants to feel he or she has the ability to do something that is meaningful and that serves as a tribute to our inherent abilities.
    It is easiest to see this in the craftsman who lovingly shapes some cheap material into an object that may be either useful or beautiful or both. You can see the carpenter or bricklayer stand aside and admire the product of his personal skill.
    But even where there is no obvious end product that is solely attributable to one person's skill, researchers have found that employees find pride in accomplishment. Our own research in hospitals suggests that even the housekeeping and laundry staffs take pride in the fact that in their own ways they are helping to cure sick people -- and thus accomplishing good deal.
    We're often misled by the complaints surrounding difficult work; deep down most people regard their won capacity to conquer the tough job as the mark of their own unique personality. Complaining is just part of working After all, how else do you know who you are, except as you can demonstrate the ability of your mind to control you limbs ad hands and words? You are, in significant measure, what you can do.
    Some are deceived into thinking that people like to store up energy, to rest and save themselves as much as possible. Just the opposite. It is energy expenditure that is satisfying.
    Just watch an employee who must deal with countless other people because his or her job is at some central point in a communications network: a salesman at a busy counter, a stock broker on the phone, a customer representative. They will tell you how much skill and experience it takes to answer countless questions and handle various kinds of personalities every hour of the day. Not everyone can interact with such persistence and over long hours, but those who do, pride themselves on a distinctive ability that contributes mightily to the running of the organization.
    But work is more than accomplishment and pride in being able to command the job, because except for a few craftsmen and artists most work takes place "out in the world," with an through other people.

Esprit de corps
    Perhaps an example will make the point:
    I remember viewing a half dozen me in a chair factory whose job it was to bend several pieces of steel and attach them so that a folding chair would result. While there were ten or twelve of these "teams" that worked together, one in particular was known for its perfect coordination and lightning-like efforts. The men knew they were good. They would work spurts for twenty or thirty minutes before taking a break -- to show themselves, bystanders and other groups what it was to be superbly skilled and self-controlled, to be the best in the factory.
    When I talked with them, each expressed enormous pride in being a part of the fastest, best team. And this sense of belonging to an accomplished work group is one of the distinctive satisfactions of the world of work.
    One further word about work group satisfactions. Unlike may other aspects of life, relationships among people at work tend to be simpler, less complicated, somewhat less emotional. This is not to say there aren't arguments and jealousies, but, on the whole, behavioral research discloses that human relations at work are just easier, perhaps because they are more regular and predictable and thus simpler to adjust to than the sporadic, the more intense and less regular relationships in the community. And the work group also gently pressures its members to learn how to adjust to one another so that the "rough edges" are worked off because people know they must do certain things with and through one another each day.
    Beyond the team and the work group, there is the organization, whether it be company or hospital or university. The same pride in being part of a well-coordinated, successful unit is derived from being part of a larger collectivity. Working for a company that is though of as being part of the best in the community can provide employees with both status and self-confidence. They assume, usually with good reason, that others regard them more highly, even envy them, and that they are more competent than the average because of this association with a "winner," a prestigious institution. We in truth bask in the reflected glory of the institution, and we seek ways of asserting our membership so that others will know and can recognize our good fortune.


New Words

    contentment
n.  happiness; satisfaction 满足

    civilization
n.  文明

    intangible
a.  that can not be touched or grasped 触摸不到的

    crucial
a.  decisive; critical 决定性的,关键的

    psychological
a.  of the soul or mind 心理的

    historically
ad. in the course of history, in accordance with or in respect to history

    associate
vt. connect or bring together in one's mind 联想

    slavery
n.  the system of having slaves; the condition of being a slave 奴隶制度;奴隶身份

    sin
n.  behavior that is against the principles of morality; an immoral act 罪孽

    punishment
n.  punishing or being punished 惩罚

    complaint
n.  complaining; a statement expressing unhappiness, pain, dissatisfaction 抱怨

    behavioral
a.  of or having to do with behavior 行为的
    contribution
n.  act of contributing; sth. contributed

    necessity
n.  sth. that is necessary; the condition of being necessary, needed or unavoidable 必需品;必要性

    focus
n.  the central point; centre of interest 焦点

    creativity
n.  the ability to produce new and original ideas and things; inventiveness创造性
 
    clinic
n.  building or part of a hospital where doctors give specialized medical treatment and advice; a medical institution for special purposes 诊所

    heal
v.  (cause to) become healthy 治愈,愈合,痊愈

    depressed
a.  sad; low in spirits 精神抑郁的,情绪沮丧的

    depress
vt. make sad, low in spirits

    renew
vt. reestablish; give new life and freshness to 使更新

    gainfully
ad. profitably

    acute
a.  severe; strong 严重的,急性的

    symptom
a.  a change in the body's condition that indicates illness  症状

    institution
n.  a society, club, college or any organization established for some public or social purpose 公共机构

    workshop
n.  a room of building which contains tools or machinery for making or repairing things 车间,工场

    wherein
conj. in which

    exert
vt. use(strength, skill, etc.) 尽力

    reverse
n.  the opposite; the other way round, the back 相反,背面

    absence
n.  non-existence; lack

    retirement
n.  instance of retiring or being retired; condition of being retired 退休

    financial
a.  relating to money 财政的;金融的

    weekend
n.  Saturday and Sunday, esp. when considered as a holiday from work

    fend
vi. provide(for) 供养;照料

    unemployment
n.  the state of being unemployed

    significant
a.  of noticeable importance or effect 重大的

    significance n.

    satisfaction
n.  be state of being satisfied 满足

    satisfactory a.

    accomplished
a.  skilled, expert 有才艺的;有造诣的

     tribute
n.   material evidence of one's worth, virtue, etc.

    inherent
a.  existing as a natural and permanent part or quality of 内在的,生来的

    craftsman
n.  a highly skilled workman 手艺人,(名)工匠

    bricklayer
n.  a workman who builds with bricks

    attributable
a.  that can be attributed 可归因于……的

    attribute
vt. 把……归因为

    housekeeping
n.  management of a home and its affairs 家政

    staff
n.  the group of workers who carry on a job (全体)员工

    capacity
n.  ability, power; the amount that sth. can hold or produce 能力;容量

    tough
a.  difficult to do or deal  with 艰巨的

    unique
n.  being the only one of its type 独特的

    limb
n.  the leg, arm. or wing of an animal 肢,翼

    opposite
n.  a person or thing that is entirely different from another 对立面,对立物

    countless
a.  very many; too many to be counted

    broker
n.  person who buys and sells for others 经纪人,掮客

    stock broker
n.  a person who buys and sells stocks and bonds for other for a commission 证券经纪人
 
    representative
n.  a person acting in place of one or more others  代表

    interact
vi. act on each other 相互作用

    persistence
n.  the act or fact of keeping on doing sth in spite of difficulty or opposition 坚持

    persist  vi.

    distinctive
a.  clearly marking a person or thing as different from other 特殊的;与众不同的

    mightily
ad. with power and strength; greatly

    esprit de corps
n.  (French) spirit of loyalty and devotion which unites the members of a group or society 团体精神,集体荣誉感

    coordination
n.  harmonious adjustment or working together 协调

    coordinate  vt.

    lightning
    闪电

    bystander
n.  a person standing near but not taking part in an event or activity; onlooker 旁观者

    superbly
ad. magnificently; first class

    aspect
n.  one side or view of a subject 方面

    relationship
n.  a friendship between people; connection 关系

    disclose
make known; show by uncovering 揭示

    sporadic
a.  occurring now and then; occasional 零星发生的,偶尔的

    collectivity
n.  people collectively, especially as forming a community or state 集体

    collective a.

    status
n.  (high) social or professional position 地位,身份

    envy
vt. feel admiration or ill-will toward (sb.) because he has the good fortune one wishes to have 羡慕;妒忌

    winner
n.  one that wins or seems destined to win or be successful

    prestigious
a.  having respect that results from the good reputation (of a person, nation, etc.)有声望的

    bask
vi. sit or lie in enjoyable warmth and light (舒适地) 取暖,享受

    reflect
vt. throw back (light, heat, sound or image) 反射;反映

    assert
vt. demonstrate the existence of; declare forcefully 宣称,断言

    membership
n.  the state of being a member, of a club, society, etc. all the members of a club, society, etc.


Phrases  &  Expressions

  associate with
  connect with (often mentally) 把…与…联系在一起

  rather than
  instead of

  fend for oneself
  look after oneself 照料自己,自行谋生

  aside from
  besides, apart from 除…以外

  long for
  desire (to have )sth. strongly 渴望

  take pride in
  fell please and happy because of 为…而感到得意

  store up
  put away for future use 储存,储备

  pride oneself on
  regard as a special reason for pride or satisfaction 以……自豪

  make the/one's point
  prove that sth. is true 证明一个论点

  in particular
  especially

  at work
  busy at a job; doing work

  on the whole
  considering everything; in general

  work off
  get rid of, dispose 除去,清除

相关主题链接:
UNIT 10. The Fantastic Spurt in Technology
UNIT 9. The Death of Hitler
UNIT 8. Daydream a Little
UNIT 7. The Shelter
UNIT 6. A Day's Wait
UNIT 5. The Day Mother Cried
UNIT 4. Lady Hermits Who Are Down But not Out
UNIT 3. Why I Teach
UNIT 2. The Woman Who Would Not Tell
UNIT 1. A Brush with the Law
UNIT 10. Profits of Praise
UNIT 9. What Is Intelligence, Anyway?